We’ve all been there.
The witching hour approaches and you slam your drink, casting eyes wildly for the waitress because, like Rocky Balboa, you’ve got just one more round. And you sip that drink, watching the blonde women with their colored men, as the tattooed low-wagers in black turn the lights up and you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here and no, sir, you are not going home with me. Outside, a light drizzle falls into a narrow but fast-moving stream burbling around parking meters and into the street and you stumble and twist—no, more like tweak—your ankle and man down! You’re overwhelmed and drowning but a girl from the bar swirls into the eddy to lend a hand, offering you some smoke and you’re walking—no, more like hopping—to her car, where it’s parked on California, and now you’re gripping the wheel as she takes a hit and then passes the bowl and lighter in one deft move and you wonder why girls never learn to smoke and drive at the same time as they can do so many other wonderful things. You imagine, too, how easily you might overpower her for a short trip to Rock Creek Park—or you could drive back to Virginia to dump her by the canal, as your friend suggests the other day, the thought sticking in your mind as a definite possibility.
The moment passes, however, and she dumps you in Dupont Circle and you’re greeted at the bottom of the broken escalator by an iron gate and you wonder how the country changes so quickly in a generation, populated now by dark-faced men in turbans driving yellow cars and why America now makes only yellow cars to be driven by dark-faced men in turbans, you cannot fathom.
It happens to everyone, a nearly universal experience in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., where the subway closes early and bars, restaurants and nightclubs may only serve alcohol until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.
Yet, for one four-day stretch during the inauguration of our nation’s 44th president, the city would impersonate something much grander as her population surges and the hours of the day lengthen. And so it was written. The city would drown in booze to celebrate the Second Coming, as our progenitors feted the inauguration in 1829 of Andrew Jackson, a roughly-hewn veteran said to be a man of the people. Like his predecessor, President-elect Obama brings to the executive mansion a populist sensibility, once ordering a Michelob Light while bowling in a Michigan suburb with working class whites.
Politicians and private organizations, however, continue to resist the tide, pressuring Mayor Adrian Fenty and the D.C. Council to rescind the emergency law authorizing such extended hours Jan. 17-21 for the city’s watering holes, oases in an otherwise drab and boring part of the world.
Just days after the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) and Bob Bennett (R, UT) criticize the city for potentially diverting police resources from safety requirements, the Congress once again lording over the feckless locality that is the seat of federal power.
As someone with three alcohol-related arrests on his record, I believe I am qualified to address this issue. Like many others in the national capital region, I support the city’s effort to not only commemorate the first non-white American president since Calvin Coolidge but to sieve some of those out-of-town dollars as the Congress shorts the city on the inaugural budgetary allocation.
Joining the dissent, the Downtown Cluster of Congregations (a.k.a. Fans of Jesus) cite concerns about police coverage but also warn of crime in residential neighborhoods such as Adams Morgan, Georgetown and the U Street corridor. In a letter signed by Executive Director Terrance Lynch, the organization questions the wisdom of extending the hours and length of service of alcoholic beverages in Adams Morgan, “a neighborhood with a history of safety problems.”
Again with the dinosaur talk.
Senators and churchmen, I hear your concerns and they sound logical but did you know that one may purchase a 550-watt brushed stainless steel Black & Decker blender from Target for only $49.99? And did you know that for an additional fee someone will actually deliver it to your house? In possession of such a fine machine, one might, let’s say, mix 12 ounces of Bacardi with, I don’t know, 12 teaspoons each of coconut cream and crushed pineapple. One might even choose to garnish his beverage with a pineapple wedge. It’s a discretionary matter.
And so it was written. For four days in January, the city poses on the world stage, pretending—until the witching hour—to be something she is not.
Posted by M@ at 1:46 PM